Chafing and blisters are 2 common words that every runner fears. It does not bother you at first. But once you start having it. You will continue to have it. In this blog, I will share with you on my cheats to prevent these phenomena.
- What is chafing?
Chafing refers to the irritation of skin caused by repetitive friction, usually generated through skin to skin contact of multiple body parts. Chafing is usually contracted in the inner thighs and inner glutes. Nipples can also develop chafing, this common when you run a full marathon and more. Of cause the material (shirt) you wear plays an important role. However, even our best cotton shirt may some times cause nipple chaffing. If you are unaware of how nipple chafing looks like, please take a look at the photos below obtain from the web.
Trust me, you do not want to experience this when you are just hitting 28KM and u have another 24 KM to go. it really hurts. Not forgetting the phrase, “a picture paints a thousand words”. Especially, when the photographer takes a photo and everyone sees it.
- How to prevent chafing?
For me, my preference have always been surgical tape. Why don’t I use sports shield products (eg: glide, 2 toms, run guard), petroleum jelly (eg: vaseline) or nip guard?
Nip guard has the same affect as surgical tape, except the cost is cheaper for surgical tape. Sports shield products and petroleum jelly however, wears off after prolong runs, unless you re-apply after intense sweating. This does make a lot of difference when you are running an Ultra events.The last thing you would want, are bloody nipples. I have many runners who keeps telling me that they do not have this problem. Unfortunately, their happiness are short lived. Thus, I like to be always ready. Like the scout motto,”Always be prepared”. You can get your surgical tape from any pharmacy.
To prevent chaffing on the inner thighs and groin area, especially during ultra marathons. My choice of preference is 2 Toms Sport Shield. I have tried several other off-self products available in the market. However, only 2 Toms sport shield, can last for 12 hours. Even after a shower with soap, you can still feel the lubrication on your skin. I actually swear by this product. Even the manufacturer guarantees 100% anti chafing.
- What is blister?
Blister is a small pocket of fluid within the upper layers of the skin, typically caused by forceful rubbing of your feet to your shoe or socks. There are several causes:
- Your shoes are not of the right size (fit) or comfort
- The suitability of socks material (assuming that you wear socks to run)
- The moisture on your feet over prolong runs
- Your shoes are not of the right size (fit) or comfort
How do you pick your running shoe? Do you buy your shoes based on peer pressure? Do you buy based on looks? Price? Weight? Comfort? or Function? Here are simple guides. Know your feet arch. (Neutral, Stability or Motioned Controlled)
This is how to check.
STEP1: Wet the bottom of your feet.
STEP2: Step on a piece of brown paper.
STEP3: Look at the imprint.
You should see the imprint matches one of these 3 imprints. 80% of human are average arch(stable), while 10% are high arch (neutral), and another 10% are low arch (flat foot). People with high, stiff arches are probably more susceptible to bony injuries on the outside of their foot, ankle, and leg, while people with flat and flexible arches are more likely to get soft tissue injuries and problems on the inside of their lower body.
After knowing what feet type you belong to, you can start to pick the type of sports shoe that meets your running needs; speed or long distance running. If you are a person > 80kg (men )/ 68kg (women), or if you run more then 50km per run, you will need to look at high cushioning shoes. Examples of high cushioning shoes are Hoka One One Clifton (neutral), Hoka One One Bondi (neutral), Hoka One One Odyssey (stability), Hoka One One Infinite (stability), Asics Kayano (stability), Ascis Gel Nimbus (neutral), Brooks Glycerin (neutral), Brooks Transcend(stability), Mizuno Wave Paradox (stability), Mizuno Wave Creation (neutral) and Mizuno Enigma(neutral).
If you are <80kg (men)/ 68kg (women), then you can look at normal running shoes. Examples of these are Hoka One One Clayton (neutral), Hoka One One Tracer (neutral), Brooks Launch(neutral), Brooks Ghost (neutral), Mizuno Sayonara (neutral), Mizuno Wave Rider (neutral), Mizuno Wave Inspire (stability), Zoot Ultra Tempo (stability), Zoot Ultra TT (neutral), Ascis GT2000 (stability), Ascis GT Trainer (stability).
For me, my choice for Ultra Marathon are HokaOneOne, due to its great cushioning and weight. As for runs < 42km, I would use my Zoot Ultra Tempo (discontinued) and HokaOneOne Tracer and ON Could.
- The suitability of socks material
I tired several socks, but the best fit for my feet would still be the Injinji five-fingers ultra thin no show socks. As you can see in the image below, it has very good breath-ability allowing your feet to stay snug and dry. It also helps your toes to splay naturally. Thus, preventing them from rubbing against each other, causing blisters. The best part, it comes in various colour. To add an additional; layer of protection, I normal apply a layer of Vaseline on my forefoot too.
Disclaimer: These are my tips on how I keep my body free from chafing and blisters during my LSD, marathons and ultra runs. It works for me, and I hope it does for you to0.
- Where to Buy?
If you are in Kuching (Malaysia), and are wondering where you can get these items;2Toms sports shield, Injinji socks and Hoka One One Clifton. Please go to Revolution Run Co (Brooks) at green heights mall.
I will do a product comparison for Hoka One One shoes in my next review. Watch out for it.
Run safe, Run smart, Run injury free!